The Department of Defense (DoD) is awarding the Spectrum Forward Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) worth up to $2.5 billion to the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) for the development, adoption, and deployment of next-generation technologies, including 5G and spectrum access technologies.

The agreement – carrying a term of up to five years – is meant to help “facilitate a partnership between the U.S. technology and industrial base and the U.S. Government to develop dual-use technologies across a range of advanced technologies that rely upon electromagnetic spectrum from machine learning to autonomous navigation to next generation radio access networks.”

“An Other Transaction Agreement is the most effective method to enable rapid prototyping in the US Government,” said Tony Melita, Executive Director of NSC,  in a press release. “By bringing industry, academia and the government together, the NSC will tackle the toughest spectrum-related technological challenges facing our nation and the world. We are excited and ready to continue the development of innovative dual-use technologies that support our warfighters and American jobs.”

NSC members will conduct research and development projects to streamline and upgrade  communications infrastructure, improve spectrum utilization, and advance microelectronics to enable protected and resilient networks.

“The United States has been the global leader in mobile technologies for decades,” said Sal D’Itri, NSC’s chairman. “Now, as 5G takes hold, we need to invest in the development of a new wave of capabilities that will once again redefine the technology landscape. On behalf of the NSC membership, we look forward to working the government, industry and academia to take on this challenge.”

Technology development areas under the contract will include machine learning; cognitive spectrum sharing; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; narrow-band internet of things; autonomous navigation, next-gen radio access networks; multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) methods for multiplying radio link capacity; and beam forming.

NSC membership includes 384 U.S. companies and academic institutions. The group’s “large organization” membership category features wireless service providers AT&T and Verizon, and dozens of Federal IT service providers including Accenture Federal Services, Ciena Government Solutions, Dell Federal Systems, General Dynamics Information Technology, and Microsoft.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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